According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common cancer globally affecting over 2million women. Breast cancer occurs when some changes take place in certain genes making the cells in the breast grow out of control. While some risk factors such as being female, aging, or having a family history of breast cancer cannot be controlled, a lot of research studies have shown that dietary and lifestyle factors play a vital role in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Here are answers to some questions about diet and breast cancer:
1. Is diet linked to cancer?
Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. But diet alone is unlikely to be the “cause” or “cure” of cancer. Nutrition-related risk factors include obesity, physical inactivity, excess intake of alcohol, excess intake of refined and processed foods.
2. Can certain foods reduce the risk of breast cancer?
No particular food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can reduce your risk for breast cancer as low as possible. These include adequate intake of citrus fruits, apples, pears, green vegetables, nuts, beans, berries, fatty fish, onions, fermented foods, and spices such as turmeric and ginger.
3. Can diet or nutritional supplements cure cancer?
There is no proof that a particular type of diet or vitamin/mineral/herbal supplement can cure cancer, though some of them may help control treatment side effects or help your body get well after treatment. Intake of nutrients supplements should be regulated by the oncologist or the registered dietitian during treatment. Although all nutrients can be gotten from the diet, some nutrients supplements that help to cope with the side effects of treatment include Vitamin D, Calcium, Probiotics, and certain B-Vitamins.
4. Can pesticides in food increase the risk of cancer?
No research has shown that the very small amounts of pesticide residues found in produce increase the risk of breast cancer. The benefits of fruits and vegetables outweigh the undefined risk of pesticides.
5. How can I reduce my risk for Breast Cancer?
According to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), the following guidelines may help reduce the risk of breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight,
- Undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week,
- Limit alcohol consumption,
- Eat more plant-based diet.
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